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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 3

I Background

II Early European Settlements

III Assessment Of Available Water Resources

IV Water Supplies For Goldmining Development

V Irrigation Development

VI Farm And Stock Water Supplies

VII Urban Water Supplies

VIII Wastewater Management And Treatment

IX Water Quality Management

X Limnological And Water Quality Research

XI New Techniques In Water Resource Planning And Management

XII Legislation

XIII Conclusion

XIV List Of Abbreviations

XV Acknowledgements

XVI Plantations-high Productivity Resources



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The history of technology in the water industry in Australia has been characterised by adaptation and improvement of imported processes rather than local development from scratch. This has been brought about in large measure by our relatively small research base and our late start as a developed nation compared to the main centres of technological progress. We have, however, been able to select the most appropriate techniques from overseas in many cases, as a starting point for refinement to suit local conditions.

We have not always made the best choice, having sometimes followed overseas practice slavishly without adequate modification for local requirements, with unfortunate and costly consequences.

Much Australian adaptation has been innovative and productive, and has been exported to other countries. There is scope for this action to be expanded. Fields in which new technology should be developed in Australia in the future include the following:

  • Increased use of groundwater, brackish surface water and sea water. Australia has vast resources of these waters, which should be exploited in preference to costly new fresh water surface resources.

  • Low-cost water treatment processes, particularly for desalinating brackish water.

  • Increasing the use of wastewater, including its use for potable purposes.

  • Increasing use of computer-aided modelling techniques in water resource planning and management.

  • Increasing the efficiency of water use in irrigation.

  • New methods of sampling and data analysis for use in water quality research.

These fields offer an interesting challenge to Australia's water engineers and managers of the future.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Hume, Lake Vic./N.S.W.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 188, Online Edition 2000
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